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In the freelancing world, you will come across many clients who want you to do some work for them but are not willing to reciprocate by paying on time. They demand a lot from you while not willing to show the same level of commitment in terms of paying you early. In such instances, you need to have a plan that ensures you receive payment for freelance work on time. Otherwise, this would affect your ability to work, thus ensuring that you lose clients who are good towards you.
Here's what you should do to avoid non-paying clients as a freelancer:

Focus on research
First, you must do plenty of research. No matter how desperate you are for work, this does not warrant taking on any project you find simply because you're interested in the paycheck. Today, it's much easier to do research on all prospective clients. There are tons of information and resources you can use to learn more about each client. Google is your friend. Use it to make enquiries, ask questions and do some background check on the client you wish to work for. Some of the issues you ought to focus on during the research include:

  1. Ease of finding information on the client
  2. Ease of accessing the client via phone calls or email
  3. The general opinion others have on the client
  4. Minor and major publications where the client has featured
  5. Your impressions of how the client interacts with freelancers

They are unreliable
A reliable client has no problem signing a freelance contract with you. However, an unreliable one will try to dissuade you from signing such a contract. The fact that you're freelancing doesn't eliminate the need for contracts between you and the clients for whom you work. Do not forget that it's literally impossible to legally force the client to pay you without a written and signed contract. Your only options in such situations would be to try illegal means, which might land you on the wrong side of the law and soil your reputation as a professional freelancer.

Developing good pricing strategy
Spend time developing a good pricing strategy. According to Intuit QuickBooks, choosing the right pricing strategy requires that you use the right factors on which to base your decision. Some of the factors you must focus on include cost, customers, competition, tiered pricing and odd number pricing among others. The fact that you lack a solid portfolio doesn't mean you should stop paying proper attention to the need to develop a good pricing strategy. Do not try to entice clients with low pricing, as this might make you appear unprofessional.

Avoid rushing through negotiations
Rushing through negotiations has killed many people's dreams of being top freelancers. In fact, the Business Daily News lists rushing through negotiations as one of the things that you should never do. Negotiating with a client requires plenty of time. Ask for time to consider everything the client is saying. Take more time during the negotiations to build a rapport with the client. Taking adequate time to negotiate is great for regaining perspective and removing undue emotions from the whole process.

Remember, your goal is to identify the kind of clients who might give you plenty of problems when it's time to pay for services rendered. Once more, you're not helpless as you think. In fact, recognizing patterns is one of the ways of overcoming helplessness, according to PsychCentral. Recognize the patterns in non-paying customers so that you only work for those who have no problem making payment for freelance work. The steps you take today ensure you never have to keep chasing after clients to pay you.